BARNSTABLE, Mass. – Several jurors who convicted a black trash collector in the slaying of a white fashion writer made disparaging racial remarks during deliberations, which at one point became so heated two jurors had to be separated, according to documents filed Tuesday.
The attorney for Christopher McCowen, who was convicted last month in the January 2002 rape and murder of writer Christa Worthington, filed the sworn statements from three jurors about three other jurors as part of a bid for a new trial.
"The statements clearly indicate that these jurors were racially biased against the defendant before deliberations ever started," attorney Robert George said.
Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe did not immediately return a call seeking comment about the filing.
Worthington, 46, who had worked for Elle, Cosmopolitan and Women's Wear Daily, was found fatally stabbed in her Cape Cod home, with her 2-year-old daughter clinging to her body.
McCowen, 34, admitted he had sex with her but said his friend killed her.
The original jury deliberated more than 28 hours over five days before declaring a deadlock. Judge Gary Nickerson sequestered them and ordered them to keep trying, but the next day he removed a juror who was recorded talking to her jailed boyfriend about media reports on the case and making disparaging comments about police.
That juror was replaced with an alternate, and two days later, the jury announced a guilty verdict.
George said three jurors contacted him after the verdict and told him that three other jurors had made negative remarks about black people.